Greyhound Bites Family

“My wife and kids left last night (an hour late, but that happens) at 12:40am for Albuquerque. We paid for 3 seats, but were only given 2. We checked two bags and a car-seat and were asked if we needed assistance in moving them from bus to bus in the layover at Dallas. We said yes and they tagged them with special tags. The trip was supposed to comprise 3 legs: Austin-Dallas with a 90 minute layover, Dallas-Amarillo with a 20 minute layover, and Amarillo to Albuquerque…”

They made it to Dallas with 5 minutes to spare before the second bus was scheduled to leave. My wife saw one of her bags and the car seat on the dolly, but couldn’t get confirmation that it had made it on the bus. She boarded and managed to at least get all three of the seats we had paid for this time.

I called again at 1, and learned that she had been stuck in Amarillo for over two hours already and that there was no clear idea of when the bus might arrive. Not much we could do about it, so we just shrugged and resigned ourselves to waiting; her there, me here. The kids were being good, but were so exhausted that they were asleep…

At lunch, I got a call from a person in Dallas who found our luggage… empty… and in a dumpster a quarter mile from the bus station. I called Heather to let her know. She was still in Amarillo (now going on 4 hours…). I called “Customer Service” and was put on hold for 36 minutes. When I finally got a hold of a person, I was immediately told that she would not discuss the matter with me because I was not the one who had ordered the tickets… I pointed out as calmly as I could that I was the sole breadwinner in my household and that I sure as heck HAD PAID for the tickets. She told me to have my wife call (You know, the love of my life, who would have to then wait on hold with two fatigued kids to monitor in a bus station). I told her to put me through to a supervisor. I got voicemail and no one has contacted me.

Around 2:30 I called my wife back and found out that a bus had just pulled up. I let her go, thinking we were getting on top of this. I later learned that she was not allowed onto that bus because it was too full… Wait… didn’t we buy a dang ticket? Then, as she got into the only 3 contiguous seats left in the NEXT bus, the driver said they were too close to his seat and that he didn’t want kids sitting there. My wife, now completely overwhelmed, came very close to crying. He accused her of threatening him because apparently he feels threatened by a crying person. He then told her that she was a bad parent if she was not able to control her kids better… They had not been doing anything! I won’t go further, but she was VERY badly treated by the Grayhound company and its people as a whole. My wife is very understanding and not prone to exaggeration. She has literally circumnavigated world, including visits to many third-world countries. When she told me the specifics of what she was told, I was glad I had not been there because I would have gone to jail.

They have now been on the road for 15 hours of a supposed 16 hour trip and are barely halfway there.

We will be buying a plane ticket for each of them to get home.

-Harold

There’s a reason Greyhound is the travel of choice for paroled convicts, fleeing criminals, and teenage runaways, and no, it’s not their fast, friendly service. It’s because they’re the cheapest option and they let you pay for a ticket in cash. We rode Greyhound from Denver to New York City so we know what we’re talking about. We’re not sure why Harold and his family chose to go Greyhound but it looks like they’re making the wise decision and springing for an airline ticket. Plane tickets aren’t that much more expensive and while air travel has complaints all its own, it’s definitely more enjoyable than bus. That said, the level of customer service Harold and his family received is abhorrent. That Greyhound let their luggage be stolen and didn’t care after it was reported is pathetic. Harold and his family are doing the best thing which is to take their business elsewhere from now on.

(Photo: bomb_tea)

Comments

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  1. eli_b says:

    You couldn’t pay ME to get on a bus. I don’t care about the people on the bus, I just don’t trust that the bus won’t break down, that the driver will drive properly, and any other number of company-related things.

  2. Justinh6 says:

    Everybody has exactly one experience with Greyhound, and they will never ride again after that experience.

    Mine was a few years back, I had bought a car on ebay, and decided to take a Greyhound bus from Buffalo to Columbus, Ohio to pick it up.

    What a disaster. The bus picked up a load of ex cons, directly from jail. Still wearing their prison issued plain shirts and pants.

    Then we drove through the inner city of Columbus, and picked up some more upstanding citizens. The one guy who got on was so coked up, he had bloodshot eyes, and had his head tilted back on the headrest of the seat. He was stuffing tissues up his nose, his nose was dripping blood.

    If you must travel by ground, rent a car. Its usually way cheaper than greyhound, and will get you there faster.

  3. stpauliegirl says:

    In college myself and a few of my friends took Greyhound from Minneapolis to Milwaukee or Chicago sometimes, and we all had nothing but horror stories. My worst trip was when the bus stopped in Ass Rape, Wisconsin, and sat on an interstate exit while we waited for a replacement bus driver, because the current one was over his limit for driving hours. I also caught the flu on that trip. A friend got his wallet stolen off of him while he slept on the bus. My friends now use Megabus (tickets are $1 to $20 round trip). I either fly or drive myself; I’ll never go Greyhound ever again.

  4. werdna says:

    If you are traveling on a budget, I highly recommend Amtrak. Yes, train travel is slow, but its slightly more enjoyable than bus and its not used by convicts straight out of prison.

  5. letoofdune says:

    There’s only a few bus trips I’ve taken that haven’t been horrid. I went to college in the hills of New Hampshire, so bus was the only method of transportation to the nearest airports (Boston, Manchester, or Burlington). Most of those were nice trips, because those were friendly, helpful, non-greyhound bus people.

    Then again, I took a bus from NYC to Boston. Never again.

  6. banned says:

    That is really a shame. I have never had anything but good experiences with them. I once got on the wrong bus, ended 5 hrs from my destination with no money and they sent me home free. A second time I lost my x-country ticket and they let me on anyway. A third time a bus was full so they let us stand and refunded the tickets for the entire bus because 6 or 8 of us stood for 2 hours, and was entirely their idea. Any time the bus is full, they usually send another. Maybe the policies are different in the US as opposed to Canada but I doubt it as it is the sams company.

  7. procrustean_sleeper says:

    That is a shame. They were probably confused by your having luggage to carry your belongings rather than trash bags. Speaking from experience, the Dallas bus station is grim.

    One way Austin to Albuquerque for 2 adults one child on Greyhound was 207 for a 7 day advance purchase and takes 19+ hours. Same on Southwest Airlines is just over 300 and takes three hours.

    Montey’s tight and all, but that doesn’t seem like much of a choice.

  8. Alvis says:

    Too bad you have to forego your right to personal privacy to travel by air. For those of us who don’t take that for granted, air travel simply isn’t an option.

  9. swalve says:

    Amtrak isn’t cheaper than flying.

    I find it funny when people choose the CHEAPEST, most disreputable choice available and then complain.

  10. swalve says:

    alvin- you don’t have a right to privacy when you’re on someone else’s property.

  11. queen_elvis says:

    Small claims time for this family. Well, depending on how much the plane tickets cost, could be too expensive for small claims.

    Amtrak costs more, but you get leg room and most of your fellow passengers aren’t scary.

  12. RadicalBender says:

    Not to mention that the Greyhound bus depot in Dallas is in a dangerous location in downtown anyway. Avoid it at all costs.

  13. SkyeBlue says:

    Once on a trip from California to Texas on Greyhound the bus driver on the bus I was on just up and walked off during a stop at a restaurant because he was mad that he got called in on his day off! We had to wait around quite a while for the replacement driver to arrive. I guess we were lucky he didn’t throw his fit out in the desert somewhere where we would have all just been stranded.

  14. timmus says:

    It’s about time Megabus and others muscled in… Greyhound has had a free ride in this market for decades. With airlines getting more and more expensive, there IS room for an upscale long-distance bus service. As it is, I never consider Greyhound because of the trashy clientele and Greyhound’s highly urbanized locations, which are difficult for suburban people like myself to get to. If the market will bother to offer a change, I’ll take it.

    And I agree — small claims court all the way… most likely they will settle the case.

  15. uricmu says:

    In Pittsburgh they moved the greyhound “terminal” from next to the train station in downtown (which wasn’t really accessible by bus but was at least walkable) to a “temporary” location under an interstate overpass, where you have to climb hills and go through blighted areas of town to go anywhere. No wonder the local colleges are operating their own buses come break time.

  16. Vicky says:

    I have traveled long-haul and short-haul across the United States and Europe by bus, on Greyhound and other lines, and I never had an experience anything like this. If you keep your wits about you and make reasonable accomodations for your personal safety and comfort – the same as you would for any urban transit – express bus lines can be an economical and pleasant way to travel. I hope that Greyhound comes through and makes things right for this family.

  17. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @swalve: I was waiting for some moron to blame the victims here.
    Maybe they couldn’t afford any other transportation, so we should cut them a break. Greyhound screws them over and it’s their fault for thinking that wouldn’t happen.
    Next time, think before you type instead of trying to impress everyone with your quick wit.

  18. ideagirl says:

    @ALVIS

    Constitutional rights (right to privacy) are not waived when a person enters private property. You are thinking of the former Soviet Union.

  19. Brigitte says:

    I also deplore Greyhound:

    On the Montreal-NYC route, the bus broke down on the New Jersey Turnpike. The bus driver tried several times to resurrect the bus, but to not avail. Stuck, in the middle of August – without air, and without a way to get off the bus.

    Not ideal, but shit happens.

    The kicker, however, was when somebody at Greyhound decided that they would ‘tow’ the bus, fully loaded with passengers. Since the passengers couldn’t exactly exit the bus on a busy expressway, towing the passengers to the nearest exit(a 30 second drive)would have been a plausible solution. But, instead, the bus was towed OVER an overpass, probably the scariest moment of my life. The bus came close to tipping over more than once, to the point where I had to close my eyes and pray we’d be safe. Then, after driving for 10 minutes, the bus dropped us off at a different exit, where we had to wait another hour for a bus to pick us up.

    I made phone calls, wrote letters to upper management, and NOTHING. They wrote back to say they would re-imburse my tickets, but never did anything.

    Of course, after that incident, I’ll never step foot inside a Greyhound bus again… and I cringed listening to Harold’s story, yet none of it was really surprising.

  20. natsirt says:

    SWALVE- Your theory on constitutional law is fortunately completely wrong. See Bond v. United States, 529 U.S. 334 (2000). (holding that squeezing a bus passengers bag is a violation of 4th Amendment’s proscription against undreasonable searches); Minnesota v. Olson, 495 U.S. 91 (1990) (overnight guests have a reasonable expectation of privacy)

    If your theory abour private proepry property were correct, the police wouldn’t bother to get warrants. Instead they could just wait for suspected criminals to enter a Target or a Walmart to perform a search.

  21. cmp179 says:

    That Greyhound Bus Station in Dallas is absolutely horrendous! Or, at least it was the one and only time that I ever used it. It was packed full of people, and I had no idea where I was supposed to be to get on my bus. I finally went through a door I don’t think I was supposed to use, and asked an employee where the bus was. I also used Greyhound a lot in college. Luckily, I’ve never had any bad experiences after getting on the bus.

  22. AlexPDL says:

    @IDEALGIRl

    Actually Alvin is right… not to get into a legal argument… but our Constitution protects us from our government… NOT from private corporations. Only legislation can protect us from corporations.

    So your freedom of speech and privacy are most certainly vacated on private property. These rights hoever, do tend to exist when they are created by law (not the Constitution)… our Federal and State legislatures establish the freedom of privacy and speech on private property.

    However, these rights are never as great as our rights to freedom of speech and privacy vis-a-vis our government.

    Long story short… if you stand up IN a Starbucks and try to exert your freedom of speech you CAN be kicked out immediately. If you make a sign and walk on the public sidewalk and obey the law in other regards then you are allowed to stay on that sidewalk with your sign.

    On privacy… if the government (Police, etc) goes through your drawers in your apartment it violates the CONSTITUTION. If your landlord goes through your drawers then it (most likely) violates statute (Federal, State, Municipal, etc).

    Just to be clear…I’m all for freedom of speech and privacy…let’s just understand where we can fight and what we can fight…and how we can fight! :-)

    APDL, Esq.

    PS: Yes I’m a lawyer…the aforementioned post should not be construed as legal advice, always consult your own attorney. :-)

  23. PlayWithSlurry says:

    I spent my junior year at Oxford. I took the bus every time I went to
    London and found them reliable, clean and convenient. There were three
    diffrent companies competing on price, service, etc. on the same route.
    I don’t understand why this can’t be done in the US along the
    Boston-NY-Phil-Baltimore-DC corridor.

  24. hoo_foot says:

    @uricmu: You forgot to mention the fun fact that the temporary Greyhound station in Pittsburgh is also located next to the county jail.

  25. Aeroracere says:

    I’ve traveled throughout the northeast on Greyhound; and never had any trouble with ‘em. Sure, you have you stand in line for seats (kinda like most people do in airports anyways…. yeah, you know you do it…) but so far, so good.

  26. SaraAB87 says:

    I had an absolutly horrid experience with a bus when I was in 8th grade and therefore will never get on one again. I think if you gave me the choice I would fly, albeit I would try to become as informed as possible about flying before attemping it as I have never flown on a plane before.

    Lets just say it involves a broken down bus with a lot of 7-8th graders on the way home from a class trip to Cedar point and getting stuck at a gas station in the extreme ghetto of (somewhere in ohio, I think it was cleveland or cincinatti) for several hours in the middle of the night while they sent a new bus out to pick up the group. Later we found out that they had knowingly sent a faulty bus for our trip, what kind of company sends a faulty bus for what is essentially a kids field trip???? They didn’t even have the proper safety eqiupment like a flashlight, thats right I had to lend them my flashlight, thankfully someone like me was smart enough to bring one on the trip!

  27. DeeJayQueue says:

    I tried to ride Greyhound from Philly to DC. I didn’t have as bad a time as some of the other commenters, and not nearly as bad as the OP, but it was a horrible experience nonetheless.

    Soon after I found the “chinese bus”; a small bus company run out of chinatown that goes from NYC all the way to Richmond, VA. It stops in Philly and DC, and makes a quick loop in Baltimore, but otherwise is non-stop so it’s faster, it’s more efficient, oh and it’s half the price. Round trip tickets from Phily to DC and back only cost $28, compared to $43 for Greyhound and $80 for Amtrak. Hell, I can’t even put gas in my car for what it costs to take this bus.
    There are downsides. The station in DC is in the basement of a house in chinatown, the employees don’t speak but a few words of engrish, they don’t announce which bus is going where and they don’t care if you miss it or not. The bus itself just shows up at the corner and you’re supposed to magically know where it’s going and that you should get on it. For the value though, I think it’s worth it. For those who are interested, check out the site at http://www.2000coach.com.

  28. chili_dog says:

    Taking a bus as an adult is one thing but taking a family….Just dam.

  29. ceejceej says:

    When I was flat broke and living in NYC, I had to take the Greyhound to Boston for a job interview. The difference between a bus and a train ticket was about 50 bucks. I’m in my suit, heels, and stockings, waiting for HOURS in the Port Authority that smelled like pee and upchuck. The bus was to capacity, and I sat next to the guy with the worst BO. The driver informed us that the toilet was broken, so we could (and this is an accurate quote) “fill it up, but don’t empty” the commode. My mouth-breather seat-mate stared at my breasts the whole ride, and when we finally pulled into Bean Town he leaned over and whispered in a grainy voice, “Would you like some company tonight?” Such a harrowing experience I would never take the bus again.

    I will say that the Greyhound system here in LA at Union Station are not only clean, but also work with public transportation and Amtrak lines for your convenience.

  30. MonkeySwitch says:

    I rode Greyhound from Birmingham to New York City when I was 17. The drivers were short and rude and my misunderstanding made my 22 hour trip turn into something like 27 hours. But I really wasn’t expecting much. You can’t really blame the drivers for attitude if you stop and take note of 85% of people who are there riding. It really was the cheapest way for me to travel that summer, and all in all it wasn’t that awful. I’m pretty sure I saw Ron Jermey at a South Carolina bus stop at 3am, or maybe I was just delirious… anyways, if I could afford a better route of travel, I will obviously take it, but the bus wasn’t that bad.

  31. Kbomb says:

    Unfortunately I’m a Greyhound veteran. I’ve done Seattle to Grand Forks, ND three times, Seattle to Portland, Seattle to Spokane, Portland to San Diego, and Denver to Chicago. Greyhound sucks. Greyhounds sucks bigtime. I’m not at all surprised by this story.

    Amtrak is well worth the small premium. If you have to take the bus and you’re in the midwest, do the megabus. Cheaper, cleaner, faster, and safer than Greyhound.

  32. W24x192 says:

    Here are some problems with Greyhound.
    1. Despite the typically bad neighborhood where stations are located, the police/security presence is slim.
    1.a. Criminals can hang out in a station all day, learn the lay of the land around, find all the nooks & crannies within the station, and wait to feast on the happless, exhausted travelers who have to carry all of their luggage with them while on 3 hour lay-overs in the middle of their 21 hour trip. As stated in # 1, the police/security presence is not optimal.

    2. If you have no car, little money, and no friend willing to drive your carless broke ass, then Greyhound is pretty much your only option. The bad thing is, like a vain pretty woman, Greyhound is self-aware, and uses it to their advantage. They can treat their passengers like crap, hell, like crap’s crap, but the passengers have no other options, so why should Greyhound care since this seems to save them money? Granted, if that passenger makes enough money one day to buy a car or take a plane, Greyhound loses that customer, but there always seems to be someone to take their place. Also granted, if they treated their passengers better, they’d get more passengers.
    2.a. Examples of being treated like crap include: losing luggage (see the OP), leaving passengers in the middle of a trip, slow service (at the counter, on the road, etc), missing connections due to the slow service (and then not caring that they’ve put you in that situation), horrible accomodations, filthy buses, filty stations (like, you know, the bathrooms?), etc.

    3. Travel times are through the roof – and that’s scheduled travel times. Actual travel time go beyond the scheduled times maybe 3 out of 4 trips. A trip that I can make in 6 hours by car is scheduled at 15-18 hours by Greyhound.

    4. Greyhound, despite being one of the only commercial means that goes to a fairly localized level, has had to cut back on the number of locales that they cover. It was in an effort to save costs, but it cut off some small communities that now have no means of commercial travel.

    I’d be happy to see Greyhound put to sleep, but I know that it would strand lots of people who need to travel, that is if no other company was there to replace Greyhound. Competing with Greyhound on a national scale will be a slow and expensive process, much like competing with a utility. Greyhound has the infrastructure in place that all competitors will have to match.

  33. ideagirl says:

    @ALEXPDL

    Thank you for clarifying that issue, I stand corrected : )

  34. allstarecho says:

    About about 2 months ago, my husband took a trip on Greyhound from Jackson, Mississippi (horrid station with Lacresha attitude counter reps!) to Lafayette, Louisiana. Only affordable way he could get there at the time as I had to work and couldn’t take him. It’s a 4 hour trip one way via car.. 8 hours on the Greyhound.

    He told me he asked the driver of his bus, if that was the bus to Lafayette. You couldn’t hear the announcements of which bus was going where at what gate, because of all the loud buses and talking people. The driver looked at him and asked him if he was “on drugs or just dumb”…???? That’s customer service for ya. Hubby told him to go fuck himself when he got off in Lafayette.

    Greyhound drivers are old, crotchety men that couldn’t pass a piss test to drive an 18-wheeler.

    We made the decision that from now on, we’d pay for another mode of transportation, even if it put us in the poor house.

  35. parliboy says:

    I have only taken Greyhound once for anything other than service in the next state over — going from Houston to Louisiana, the price difference versus flying is a bit more dramatic, especially if you’re going on short notice.

    The big thing one should pay attention to for budget ground travel, IMHO is the foreign bus lines that are getting U.S. routes. I’ve been quite pleased with the level of service versus the price. I paid about $80 to go round trip from Houston to Monterrey. Since I took the overnight bus, I just slept on the bus, and didn’t really lose that much time.

    The bus was much cleaner, both in appearance and in smell, than anything I’ve ever seen Greyhound provide (BTW, they would have charged 50% more for the service, and I would have had to walk my baggage across the border).

  36. alhypo says:

    I’m fortunate enough to have only taken short trips on Greyhound (180 miles). Obviously this person encountered some real asshole employees, but I contend that it is mostly the fault of Greyhound management and their policies. The employees get frustrated having to deal with such a crappy system. After you’ve told a few hundred people that their bus is overbooked and watched them burst into tears it is easy to get jaded.

    Greyhound has the worst overbooking policies I have ever encountered. It says right on the ticket that having such a piece of paper does not guarantee you will get a seat. It all depends on how many people get on the bus at the stop before you. The town I go to school in is the last stop before Seattle, so I have yet to see everyone waiting at the stop with a ticket get a seat.

    Also, their prices aren’t that great for shorter trips. I can drive the 180-miles home for cheaper than a Greyhound ticket. (Obviously there is depreciation and maintenance to consider as well.) For longer trips, say 800-miles, it is definitely the cheapest way to go. But there are externalities to consider, like your mental health.

  37. SkyBison says:

    The last time I rode on a Greyhound was because I had recently collapsed a lung and could not fly on an airplane because of the pressure changes.

    While on my 26 hour trip, I fell asleep. While asleep I was robbed. I eventually found my wallet empty in the back of the bus on the floor.

    I reported to the driver $200 in cash and my credit cards were stolen. At which point another passenger accused me of probably stealing from them because I had been crawling on the floor (looking for my wallet).

    Greyhound did nothing for me and never even notified the police.

    Worst travel experience ever.

  38. GinaLouise says:

    I tried Greyhound once and won’t ever do it again. For a bus from Reno to San Francisco, I arrived over an hour before the bus’ 6:45 p.m. departure. There was a line of only about 5 people, but unfortunately the station was being manned by two employees incapable of handling anything more than a basic transaction.

    By the time I got to the front, it was 20 minutes to departure. I was informed that I couldn’t buy a ticket because tickets have to be purchased 30 minutes in advance of departure, and that I’d have to wait at the station with wine-soaked failed gamblers for four hours to get on the next bus. After much debate through gritted teeth, I finally convinced the attendant to let me get on the bus.

    While the driver was actually pleasant and efficient, I spent most of the trip trapped in my window seat by the aisle-seat passenger, who insisted on carrying a full-size folded up comforter and massive tote bag in her lap. Although she wasn’t as bad as the scraggly potheads in front of us, who merrily toked up together in their seats. When I finally did arrive in San Francisco, I was greeted by the sight of a homeless man urinating against a wall and runaways camped in the station.

    Unfortunately, it’s probably the only option for poor people. Planes and Amtrak are more pleasant, but also more expensive and going by train takes forever.

  39. Buran says:

    @AlexPDL: If you’re telling us to ask someone else, then why should we bother listening to your advice? It doesn’t make you look good when you say something, then proceed to say “I’m telling you this, but I dont think my advice is any good, you should ask someone else.”

    I sure as hell wouldn’t hire you with an attitude like that. I’d rather hire someone who has faith in their own words.

  40. FLConsumer says:

    Considering it’s a 4 hr drive to the nearest train station that’s still functioning, it’s either fly, Greyhound, or renting a car.

    I’ve never taken Greyhound, but I do wonder why they tend to suck so much. I’ve taken buses in Europe and Central America — good experience every time. The buses in Central America totally surprised me — brand new Mercedes-Benz coaches with reclining seats and food service!

    Something to ponder, supposedly TSA spends money on Greyhound security.

  41. crankymediaguy says:

    “Constitutional rights (right to privacy) are not waived when a person enters private property. You are thinking of the former Soviet Union.”

    Soviet Union circa 1975 = United States circa 2015

  42. sciencegeek says:

    @werdna:
    I don’t think I’ve ever heard the words ‘Amtrak’ and ‘budget’ in the same sentence without a negative in there somewhere. Amtrak is now more expensive than flying, at least in the Northeast corridor.

    Re interesting bus experiences: The last time I took a Peter Pan bus, there were two drug mules behind me who spent the ride comparing the quality of their heroin.

  43. JustThisGuy says:

    @Buran: Don’t get your panties in a bunch, he was just covering his ass. Seriously dude, how do you get

    I’m telling you this, but I dont think my advice is any good, you should ask someone else.

    from

    Yes I’m a lawyer…the aforementioned post should not be construed as legal advice, always consult your own attorney.

    It’s a standard disclaimer, dude. I don’t think that any of the lawyers on this site would actually endorse their views and opinions as “legal advice”. More trouble than it’s worth.

  44. MrBartokomous says:

    Wow, maybe it’s just me… but I’ve never had any horror stories from riding the bus. I’ve done Toronto-Ottawa, Ottawa-Boston, and a number of NYC-Boston trips on the Fung-Wah and the Greyhound… never had a single problem. Maybe I’m just lucky.

  45. JustAGuy2 says:

    @ideagirl:

    You don’t need ID to fly, btw, you just get the more detailed search (i.e. SSSS).

  46. bohemian says:

    We don’t even have a Greyhound terminal anymore. The only options to get out of here is a car or flying.
    At least here flying is not just a little more it is much more than other potential options.
    Flying to Chicago $500 round trip
    Amtrak to Chicago $165 round trip (but you have to drive 3 hours to get to the station)
    Greyhound was $75 round trip (when we had it)

    Why are they not expanding Amtrak?

  47. For those traveling between NYC and Boston who can’t or don’t want to fly, there is apparently also Limoliner as a choice. {Prof. Jonathan}

  48. MMD says:

    I’m really surprised at how many commenters say that Amtrak is a viable option. The Amtrak route nearest me habitually runs 10-12 hours late, derails about 5 times a year, and is incapable of giving accurate estimates as to when a late train will arrive. And the last time my mother-in-law took a train, a passenger decided it would be a good idea to bring along a giant plastic bag of live crabs, all of which died en route and began to smell up the train. I wish I was making that last part up…

  49. synergy says:

    Sheesh, I’ve never ridden a Greyhouse outside of Texas or the Midwest and it sounds like I don’t want to. I’ve never had a problem with Greyhound and I’ve certainly never had problems with the passengers. Sure, most are poor, but that doesn’t bother me. Poor and criminal aren’t synonymous.

  50. lyndyn29 says:

    @Letoofdune: Vermont Transit? Rocks. I fly into Boston and bus up to Vermont on a pretty regular basis, and I’ve never been anything but delighted with VT. The buses are spotlessly clean and very well-maintained, the drivers are competent and friendly, the passengers are few and mostly college students or New Englanders up for a day of shopping or visiting family in Montreal or down in Boston.

    The trick with Greyhound is this: some areas are serviced by regional affiliate carriers, some aren’t. Never, ever set foot on a Greyhound corporate bus. (That includes cross-country trip like the one described by the OP.) Know your regional carrier; some are excellent, like VT, and some are horrid, like Greyhound itself. A good regional carrier is a great deal; a bad one, or a trip on a corporate bus, is a nearly-guarranteed disaster.

  51. annab says:

    I rode my very first (and last) Greyhound bus last month visiting my Grandma in rural Ohio. (Flew into Cleveland, took the bus an hour to where she lives.) My first trip wasn’t so bad except for when the driver slipped me a note on the way out with his cell phone number asking me to “be his friend.”

    The second bus I took, however, was an hour late because we had to wait for a bus from Missouri to show up and transfer its passengers to our bus, leaving my mom to wait for me at a service station parking lot with rude personnel who curtly explained, “That bus is always late.”

    Oh–and Greyhound isn’t just for convicts and runaways. It’s all apparently the top choice for Amish as well.

  52. swalve says:

    Of course you can “blame the victim” if they are a victim of their own bad judgment.

    Maybe Harold should have stopped wasting his money/time on the internet and popped for better accommodations for his family.

    (By the way, there’s a regional bus company here in the Chicago area that I recommend. Coach USA. It’s basically a get to the airport from rural areas bus, but they do a fantastic job if you’re going where they are. There’s a depot near my house with free parking and it’s 36 bucks round trip to OHare. Compare that to parking, cab or limo and it’s a bargain.)

  53. Eh, all this complaining about Greyhound… I hate to say it, but what do you expect? It’s the cheapest form of transportation in the US. I’ve taken the greyhound from Seattle to NYC, twice, and both times I felt I got my money worth. Yes, there are CONVICTED FELONS (OH MY!) on the buses, the terminals are sketchy, the customer service slightly off-putting… but seriously, you’re riding the dog. I was never robbed on the bus, met a lot of interesting folks on my travels, and had an enjoyable time. It was totally worth the 100 dollars I paid.
    You shouldn’t expect top-notch service on bottom-barrel prices. If the underclass tweaks you out, stick to planes and trains.
    But to complain about crappy service when you’re paying crappy rates to start, eh… Toughen up, grow some thick skin. Take a little accountability. You want your bags to get from bus to bus? Walk them over yourself. Customer service snarky? Get snarky back.
    Don’t like felons? Don’t talk to em. Hate waiting in the ghetto? Read a book to take your mind off of it. There are lots of ways to travel. Pick one that suits you.

  54. kimsama says:

    @PlayWithSlurry: It’s called the Chinatown Bus. I’m not sure if it’s made it outside of the Northeast, but for those of us lucky enough to live there, it’s waay cheaper, safer, and cleaner than Greyhound. You can go from pretty much any city in the NE to any other city. Sometimes with no stops (and sometimes with a movie!)

    @DeeJayQueue: There are a lot of Chinatown buses that go through DC. Some are in weird Chinatown places, but some are in the business district and are very nice (like 17th and I). Shop around (although if you’re going to Richmond, you may have more limited options).

    @Buran: Lawyers have to give a disclaimer to protect themselves when giving legal information without specifically working on a case. Notice it’s legal information, not legal advice — that protects the attorney since they don’t know the specifics of every case and jurisdiction to which the information could apply, and thus can’t give advice that would be applicable to all reading this comment section.

  55. FLConsumer says:

    @kimsama:

    Notice it’s legal information, not legal advice —

    I’ll remember that the next time someone INFORMS me that I’m being robbed on a Greyhound bus and that they’re not ADVISING me to give them my money before they slit my throat. Nice to know.

  56. captainvegetable says:

    The only time I took (or will ever take) Greyhound was the time there were literally no other options for me to get home. I was 19 (couldn’t rent a car) and visiting a friend in Phoenix. My flight home was scheduled to leave on 9/11/2001. For much of the ride, I was seated next to a young man from Texas whose flight to Seattle had been grounded at Sky Harbor. (I also heard about knife wounds and how crack smells nice–all part of this uniquely American experience, I suppose!)

    I was actually scheduled to change buses in Portland and get another bus to my parents’ house in Olympia, but my mom drove down and picked me up instead. It wasn’t horrific, but it’s definitely my least preferred method of transport, and I’ve ridden on bench seats in the back of a covered pickup for several hours between a national park and the southern coast in Thailand.

  57. lihtox says:

    Amtrak’s on-time-ness depends on the route. Trains through Ohio and other places run slow because the freight trains run on the same tracks and they get priority (which is very stupid, but not necessarily Amtrak’s fault). But there is no question that riding Amtrak is better than riding Greyhound: bigger seats, more legroom, and the ability to get up and go somewhere when you’re tired of sitting. (You don’t get all those released felons either….) It’s more expensive, of course (hence the lack of felons), and in some cases it’s more expensive than flying…but it’s more comfortable and more environmentally friendly than flying.

    My bad Greyhound experience simply involved getting on the bus and finding all the seats tilted backwards at a 45° angle, where it was impossible for me to sit upright without being squashed by the person in front of me: that was enough to scare me off the dog. Glad I didn’t face what y’all have.

  58. PSTOKELY says:

    Why don’t they rename the bus line after a slow lazy dog like Basset, Greyhound behaves more like a Basset Hound than a Greyhound

  59. othium says:

    I used to take the bus to go see my daughter. It was a long trip for such a short distance. I did learn how to “hack” the system a bit when buying a ticket. My stop was an hour short of the next major hub on the route and I found out it actually cost about 20 bucks LESS to buy a ticket from my starting point to the next major hub than to buy one to my stop only. I did tell the driver before getting on the bus that I would be getting off the bus at that particular stop and he appreciate it as he has to call ahead to let them know how many seats would be available.

    The overbooking problem is still rampant and after the last trip I took standing for six hours, I decided to never ride with them again. Mybrother in law gave me a dependable car and it has made life so much easier for this trip. It was just in time too. The routes were pared back and the times scheduled to my particular stop were changed, making it virtually impossible to use. That and the prices were jacked up way too high as well.

    Never again. Greyhound sucks big donkey balls.

    (The people you have to sit with are horrible and smell bad too.)

  60. roothorick says:

    @Werdna: Depending on where you’re traveling from, Amtrak will contract a bus service for a leg of your trip, and they prefer… DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUN…. Greyhound! Sorry man, it doesn’t work out.

  61. jbohanon says:

    I could write volumes about how much Greyhound sucks. I used to take the St. Louis to Springfield, MO trip about once a month, and I can count on one finger the number of times they left early. On one trip out of Springfield, the bus was so full that I literally got the last real seat (in the middle of the row of three seats by the bathroom) and they let six more people on. One person actually sat in the bathroom the whole time. The station in St Louis is in a very crummy area of town (not safe after dark). Thank God it stops at the airport. Usually the bus only lets you off in Ft Leonard Wood at a Greyhound station and the only routes I could make it on arrived there when the station was closed. Even when it was open, they only had overpriced vending machines. Also, I think in my sphere of friends, I know about 5 people who smoke. Yet, I appear to be one of the only people on a Greyhound bus who doesn’t. Not that I mind, but it’s just funny to see them take 5 minutes to get off the bus (during a 10 minute break) then come back on and make the bus smell just like they’d been smoking there all along.

    It could be worse, I guess. My dad heard about someone who fell asleep on a Greyhound bus and woke up with his pants unzipped (how he didn’t wake up the world will never know).

  62. calwatch says:

    Chinese buses have spread all over, see http://www.ivymedia.com There’s Megabus and Jefferson Trailways (actually the old Trailways system, which Greyhound dismantled by purchasing many of the affiliates, is still alive an kicking in many parts of the country… like Vermont Transit). Amtrak also has Ambus service throughout much of the Midwest and West Coast.

    At this rate, you might even chance the craigslist ride boards. They have always been a bit sketchy to me but at least you get what you pay for.

  63. Tandy13 says:

    My boyfriend and I just came back from a 2 month trip across Canada and the US. We bought 60 day discovery passes very cheap. I have used Greyhound a lot in Ontario, Canada and it has always been good. The US Greyhound is a whole different story. We managed pretty well with our system– which involved arriving very early and carrying all our stuff on the bus, not underneath(they WILL lose it). I can tell you that Greyhound in Texas is especially bad– you need to make sure you are in a station where the trip originates(eg. Dallas instead of Fort Worth) and expect delays. The worst experience however was Portland and Seattle–the one manager was incredibly abusive and called security on me, just because I wanted to discuss the problem(calmly)– do not expect friendly service- just be happy if you get from point A to point B in one piece and close to when you were supposed to arrive. And avoid the Portland and Seattle stations if possible!– although if you make it to Vancouver– Greyhound was great there.

  64. meandfee says:

    we were sending my 13 year old son to kingman az from mesa az. while waiting for the bus in mesa to phoenix, no bus ever came. The lady working at the mesa station is an ididot. The bus was scheduled to arrive in mesa at 10:55 am. At 11:10 am i asked the lady where the bus was. She said it was running late. At 11:20am, i asked her again. This time she told me that a shuttle would be coming to pick up my son and about 10 other passengers and taking them to phoenix. Finally at 11:55am, a shuttle did come. Everyone got on the shuttle, but before i let my son get on, i mentioned that the bus in phoenix was scheduled to leave at 12:01pm.The idiot employee told me not to worry that the bus would wait for the passengers to get there. So my son left for phoenix and i headed back home. About 45 mnutes later i get a phone call on my cell from a number i didnt reconize, it was my son calling from some guys cell phone. Hes telling me hes stranded in phoenix because when they got there, there wasnt a bus waiting for them and the next bus would be there at 8pm. I told my son i would be there as soon as i could get there and to stay inside. Now we are not going to wait for 8 hrs for another bus and have him arrive in kingman at 3am so we return home and are now out 70 dollars. Greyhound is awful. what if something had happened and he had no way of getting ahold of me and was stuck in phoenix all day and night.
    He had a cell phone of his own but had let his battery go dead, so luckily the exconvict, tweeker had let him use his phone. I know hes an exconvict because he told my son all about his past while my son sat in phoenix waiting for me. maybe it wasnt a great idea to let a 13 yr old travel on a bus but figured he would be ok on a short 5 hr trip from mesa az to kingman az .

  65. jesusofcool says:

    So I beg to differ with the elitist comment about Greyhound….as a college student, I have traveled Greyhound very frequently over the last few years. I always see students and young urban professionals who don’t own a car on the route I frequently take from Boston to Hartford. It’s less the price or paying in cash (which is expensive for a short trip on a busy route) than the convenience of not having to own or maintain a car in the city. Maybe this isn’t true outside of the East Coast, but it still seems like an unfair generalization.
    That said, I’ve been waiting for Consumerist to attack Greyhound. I love it when Megabus or Boltbus or one of the Chinese bus lines run the route and give Greyhound some competition, but they don’t do it very often.The bus drivers try their best to get you to your destination on time (and they’re in general pretty good) but the ticketing system/customer service is AWFUL. In Boston, they don’t sell tickets for a particular bus. Your ticket says the time and day that you plan on traveling, but it’s actually a general ticket for the route and the buses are first come, first serve. They don’t warn you of this when you buy the ticket. Greyhound’s policy is sell as many tickets as possible, wait for lines to develop and then add buses when they can. There have been multiple times where customer service has sold me a ticket for a bus, knowing full well that there are already more people in line than will get on the bus and that they are not adding more buses, and I am shit out of luck and have to come back the next day. This has always seemed like an illegal and predatory policy – if the airlines did it, some AG would be on their ass. Thank god they added a few extra buses Tuesday before Thanksgiving, but even so we got to the station 2 hours early and the place was understaffed and chaotic.